White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has announced that Jeff Woodke, an American missionary who was kidnapped in 2016 from his home in Niger and held hostage by jihadist militants, has been released from captivity. The circumstances that lead to Woodke’s release remain unclear at this time, but officials have signaled to American media that a ransom was not made. Woodke was believed to have been taken by elements of the al-Qaeda affiliated Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM), although the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (IS-GS) has also been suspected of playing a role in his kidnapping.
I’m gratified & relieved to see the release of U.S. hostage Jeff Woodke after over 6 years in captivity. The U.S. thanks Niger for its help in bringing him home to all who miss & love him. I thank so many across our government who’ve worked tirelessly toward securing his freedom.
— Jake Sullivan (@JakeSullivan46) March 20, 2023